BBC Gardener’s World Live – The Show Opens

GWL1GWL2It’s just over a week since the BBC Gardener’s World Live came to a close and I think my head has nearly stopped spinning.

The most peculiar moment of the whole experience was when the medals were awarded the day before the show opened to the public. We had been told that it would happen at 2pm, so I eagerly arrived at 1:30pm only to quickly realise that the medals were already waiting for us. However, there was no one else around! So I coolly walked down the row of borders, peering at each medal in turn until I reached my own and to my complete amazement saw a gold medal in front of me. It felt very strange that there was no else there to tell the news to, I think I whispered my exclamations of shock and excitement before reaching for my phone and calling my parents.GWL5GWL6The show days were absolutely fantastic. Different Academy members joined me each day, it was lovely to share the experience with them and I definitely needed their energy and enthusiasm because I was feeling pretty exhausted. Everyday I was overwhelmed by everyone’s comments. I had never set out with the intention of designing something that was going to be a ‘crowd-pleaser’; in fact until the show began I had not even contemplated what visitors were going to say. I think I was probably too worried about what the judges were going to say first!

When I first arrived at the show I was surprised to see how organised so many of the other designers were when it came to planting. I was pretty jealous, why hadn’t I done a dress rehearsal at home, or devised a planting plan so exact I could unload the plants straight from the van onto the border? Whether my laid back approach was right or wrong, I had an album of key words in my head, which described the atmosphere I wanted to create and I just kept repeating them to myself. I couldn’t visualise the position of every plant, but I could close my eyes and know exactly how I wanted it to feel. I wonder whether this is why it struck a cord with so many people. With out trying to sound overconfident or bigheaded, I somehow managed to cram a mountain of emotion and mood in a 3x3m plot. So when people saw the border it was so much more than just a collection of plants.  GWL8GWL7The three Salix (willow) trees were a big talking point, so many people had to go and inspect the braches to see whether I had glued them on, or arranged them in florist’s oasis. The Rhodanthemum (Atlas Daisy) were incredibly popular too and when the sell-off neared on the final day, people tentatively waited by the border 45 minutes before the sale had even started, just to make sure they could buy a daisy to take home.GWL3When the bell rang to signal the start of the sell-off, I climbed into the border and began digging up plants that people wanted. It was a frantic experience and after around 30 minutes of just digging, placing in a pot, passing to the eager crowd and repeating, I looked up to see my Beautiful Border transformed, like a tsunami had washed all of the plants away. It was a little upsetting, but I knew I couldn’t take the plants back with me. The upside was that, because all of the money raised was going to be donated to two charities, Macmillan and Greenfingers, I raised over £700!GWL4I had anticipated that the breakdown of the border would probably be an emotional experience. However, I was surprised that it did not feel wrong and on Monday morning as I watched the diggers scoop up the last mounds of soil, I felt happy to have seen the process travel a full circle. I could not feel upset after having the best and most exhilarating week of my life, plus I was too busy contemplating where I should build my next show garden…

A full plant list and details about the border can be found here.

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